NHS employees have virtually crossed the Sahara Desert 57 times on foot.
Staff from Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust have completed a 16-week Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), an initiative which encourages workers to improve their health and wellbeing by wearing a pedometer to measure their daily steps.
Over the weeks, 119 participants formed into 17 teams and came up with their own unique ways to clock up as many steps as possible.
Team Community Crusaders, which included Jo Willoughby a Trust secretary and six other members, managed between them to clock up 4,424 miles.
For Jo the challenge took her above and beyond her own expectations and by the end she was listed as one of the most active competitors.
At the age of eight she was diagnosed with Kyphosis - curvature of the spine – which saw her undergo a 12-hour operation to insert a metal rod into her back. Since this her condition has been managed and her spine straightened but Jo admits she has never been one for sticking to exercise or fitness regimes.
Together with some team members and friends, Jo took a different approach to the GCC challenge and decided to raise money by cycling from Lands End to John o’ Groats.
She said: “I was already cycling when GCC started in May but to increase my training I went out up to three times a week. In June we all decided to get some practice in for the main event and took on a coast to coast cycle ride from St Bees to Sunderland. The journey which was over 130 miles took us three days to complete.
“We carried on training and in August completed the journey from Lands End to John o’ Groats. This took us 18 days but as stiff as I am still feeling I am so proud to have done it.
“So far we have raised over £1,600 for Help for Heroes and around a £1,000 for Daisy Lincs, a charity in North Lincolnshire providing practical and emotional support for children with a disability/additional need and their families.
“I have loved the challenge that GCC has brought along and I am looking forward to taking part again next year.”
In addition to Jo’s experience, other employees’ trained for marathons, triathlons, swapped driving to work for cycling or walking and made an effort to incorporate simple exercises into their daily routines. Every activity helped the Trust clock up 159,047,577 steps overall, resulting in a combined weight loss of 801Ibs.
The aim of GCC is to help improve people’s health and lifestyle no matter what age, gender, fitness level, state of health, profession or geographic location.
During an award presentation by GCC, staff from the Trust’s medical engineering department – who called themselves Med-Eng Mavericks for the challenge – was presented with a glass trophy for the most active team covering 4,903 miles overall.
Lindsay Crowther, human resources manager and organiser for GCC across the Trust, said: “I am very proud of the commitment all staff showed towards this challenge. It shows that even the smallest amount of physical activity can go a long way.”